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20 May 2017, 03:28 | Jan Cross
Paytm raises $1.4 b funding from SoftBank
Paytm, India's leading mobile wallet and payments company, aims to raise its valuation to $100 billion by the year 2025, its founder Vijay Shehkar Sharma said in an interview to CNBC TV18 after his company raised $1.4 billion from Japanese investor SoftBank in its largest funding to date. "This investment by Softbank and support of the incredible entrepreneur Masayoshi Son is a great endorsement of our team's execution and vision".
SoftBank, which was an early investor in Alibaba, has committed investments of over $10 billion in India.
Paytm said that it plans to invest Rs. 10,000 crore (about $1.6 billion) over the next three to five years toward its commitment to enabling half a billion Indians to join the mainstream economy. Having reaped unprecedented gains after the government's demonetization drive a year ago, Paytm is now the second most valued domestic startup after Flipkart which saw its valuation drop from $15.2 billion to $11.6 billion post its latest round. "As a part of this vision, the company will soon launch the Paytm Payments Bank, a mobile-first product that will reach every corner of the nation, and focus on the millions of unserved and under-served Indians", the company statement said.
SoftBank's wager on Paytm comes at a time when it is consolidating its India bets and putting its weight behind category leaders in the cash-guzzling consumer internet sector. "We believe we have a great opportunity to bring financial inclusion to half a billion Indians", said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder of Paytm. There has also been a significant uptake in its movie ticketing, and travel booking (rail, bus and flight tickets) businesses. Paytm with the backing of SoftBank gets an edge over other local internet players as it will be able to fight bigger rivals in the e-commerce universe and expand its payments business.
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Paytm has recently announced that the operations of it payment bank will be starting from May 23.
Investors like Softbank are betting big on Paytm as they expect to re-write the Alipay success story in China here in India.
Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma owned almost 21% of One97, while Alibaba held a 40% stake, according to latest regulatory documents accessed by business research platform Paper.vc. And also for the grow its user base and introduce more financial products for consumers. One of the biggest gainers of that demonetization was a start-up called Paytm, who via persistent advertising were already gaining popularity as a cashless app or mobile wallet in the Indian market.
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